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What would you give up?

image of kneeling Japanese woman looking out open sliding rice-paper doors into a garden.

Today’s class asks what mistake would I give up my pinkie finger to take back. (It’s a Japan-themed class, and this prompt has to do with the Yakuza and the taking of pinkie fingers, etc., etc.)

I’m starting to think my answer to the prompt is: signing up for this freaking writing class.

Honestly, I’m a professional writer. I want to keep all my fingers. They’re handy for typing.

But if I have to answer (I think the point of this class it to force students to bare their souls so we’re braver writers or something)… So I guess I have to answer…

I spent way too many years trying too freaking hard. An ex-boyfriend once told me to stop trying and just be. I didn’t understand that until recently. How can you just be without trying to be that thing?

Now, I think the answer is to let go of the trying. To let go of the wanting. To let go of wanting people to respond a certain way, wanting the world to be different. And to let go of all the angst associated with achieving those desires or not. Or just accept the angst and let go anyway.

In the end, the only thing you can really change is yourself. The beauty is, when you change, the people around you start responding differently and everything changes. And I guess, the not trying is also realizing that you can be happy no matter what happens.

I’m still not sure I’d want to give up a pinkie for that understanding. But I did waste a lot of years in trying mode...

Nah. I’m keeping the finger.

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